Meal Ticket: Dunne and Crescenzi, Dublin 2

Eileen Dunne and Stefano Crescenzi have opened five restaurants, but the original, with its simple, no nonsense Italian food has remained a city favourite

   
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Dunne and Crescenzi

The flagship of the Dunne and Crescenzi group has been trading at this spot on South Frederick Street since 1999. Since then, Eileen Dunne and Stefano Crescenzi have opened four more restaurants, but the original, with its simple, no nonsense Italian food has remained a city favourite.

One of the benefits of this place is that it’s open till late, so we pop in for a quick bite after a Dublin Fringe event and despite the hour, the place is jammed with couples and large groups, including a bunch of Italians.

Also Italian are all of the waiters that night. Ours waxes lyrical about our truffle ravioli (€16.40), and with good reason. Fat, hand-made half-moons of pasta are stuffed with mushroom and truffle and sit in a delicate, creamy fonduta sauce with a drizzle of truffle oil.

There’s a solitary, sweet roasted cherry tomato on the side and an almost indecent amount of garlic – delicious but perhaps not a meal to try if you have to interact with humans afterwards. We also receive a recommendation for wonderful 2011 Barbera d’Asti Superiore Pectore, which is almost a meal in itself.

The extensive menu includes lots of soups, salads, specials, and sides, but we opt for another pasta dish – a Calamarata con nasello – large tubes of pasta, thick and hollow like rings of squid, with flaked Doran’s hake, green chilli olives, pine nuts and cherry tomatoes (€15.50).

The flavour from the hake is a little underwhelming, especially when compared to the ravioli, but the calamarata’s great; real Italian pasta with lots of bite and a flavour all of its own. I’d have eaten a bowl of it on its own. It had been a while since we’d eaten here – perhaps this perennial gets lost in the cacophony of the shiny and new openings around town.

But there’s a reason it’s still going strong 16 years later, and we won’t wait so long for our next visit.